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Islamic Education in Secular Societies

In Cooperation with Sedef Sertkan and Zsófia Windisch


Edited By Ednan Aslan and Margarete Rausch

Through history, Islam was the dominant religion and source of legitimation for ruling entities in diverse contexts where cultures and religions thrived in harmony. Today, the presence of Muslims as citizens in secular societies poses challenges, either by belonging to minorities in Western countries with long secular traditions or by comprising minority or majority populations in post-communist East European and Central Asian societies, where secular values are being revised. As Muslims reconceive the role of religion in their lives in those contexts, Islamic education acquires importance. It assists the young, especially adolescents, in learning to identify more fully with local realities with the intention of building sense of inner connectedness through which they may truly take part in and be of service to society. The contributors to this volume explore how the religious and secular, as well as the traditional and modern intersect in Islamic educational institutions that benefit Muslims and their societies by averting extremism and promoting cohesion.


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- I - T H E O R E T I C A L A N D CO N C E P T UA L F R A M E WO R K 29 A B ST R A C T This chapter attempts to analyze the understanding of secularism among Muslims from a variety of perspectives and to explain the back- ground of that understanding. Drawing on the experiences of three im- migrant groups in Europe, it will examine the impact of that understand- ing in the European context, from which it should become apparent that Muslims have not yet unencumbered themselves from the trauma of co- lonialism and their cultural as well as religious defensive stance with re- gard to it. In the final segment, this piece investigates how their location in Europe impacts the way Muslims understand their Westernization in their daily lives and how they shape Islam in freedom in that context. This analysis is intended to serve as an answer to the questions: “Which experiences of Muslims influence their ideas about the term ‘secular- ism’?” and, “In what areas of their lives in Europe do these ideas become visible?” Finally, the analysis intends to reveal the obstacles that still pre- clude the development of a new concept of secularism among Muslims in the West. A p p ro a c h e s t o t h e Co n ce p t o f S e c u l a r i s m...

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